Rennes-le-Chateau is at the center of all things mystical and magical in the Languedoc region. Rumors of Egyptian rites, time slips, and portals to other worlds abound here. What I do know for sure is that it is full of more mysteries than answers, and beauty abounds. The view was breathtaking from atop the mountain on which it sits.
The streets were quiet as we approached the infamous church, which holds most of the town's secrets. Dedicated to Mary Magdalene, this place of worship has a gorgeous statue of Mary Magdalene above the door with an interesting inscription. At first, it seems as though it proclaims the place as "terribilis," but translated properly in this context, it means 'awesome'. Awesome it is, indeed!
|Mary Magdalene at Rennes-le-Chateau|
As I entered the church, Rex Mundi was waiting to greet me. One would not expect to find a devil at the entrance to a church. Rex Mundi means 'king of the world,' and to me, represents the ego and our attachment to earthly things that block us from our true path.
But on top of the statue sits four lovely angels, each making a portion of the sign of the cross, assuring you that all is well. A fascinating statue to be sure!
|Angels triumph over Rex Mundi|
For me, the energy in the church was a little "swirly" (it's a technical term...). It was noticeable once I was inside the main part of the church. There was so much to see within the church itself, like gorgeous statues of many saints, an ornate altar with a lovely relief of Mary Magdalene in it, painted by the priest, Berenger Sauniere, who brought this church back to life with a mysterious fortune at the turn of the 20th century.
|altar with Mary Magdalene relief|
The source of Sauniere's fortune is unknown, but the money started pouring into this small parish after he discovered something in a pillar of the old altar during a remodel. The papers found in a hole in the top of the pillar were said to contains secrets that were never revealed by Berenger or any of the people he entrusted with them.
|altar pillar - no, it isn't upside down. Sauniere had 'Mission 1891' carved upside down. The hole is at the top.|
Symbolism is all over the church. There is layer upon layer of messages and secrets here. Next to the church are the presbytery, Villa Bethania ( the home Sauniere built but never lived in) and his gardens. The gardens contain two magnificent towers, the Magdalene Tower, which served as Sauniere's library, and the Conservatory Tower, which was a green house. The Magdalene Tower is spectacular. Inside, walnut bookshelves line the walls, and the spiral staircase leads to the top of the tower. I could feel the energy swirling in the tower before I reached the door. I had to catch myself a few times inside to keep from falling because the energy was so strong. I didn't stay long because of it, but proceeded to the conservatory where the energy was a little calmer.
After visiting the towers, the group headed to another part of the Sauniere's original garden called Jardin du Marie for lunch. There, we ate under the sprawling branches of trees and were treated to a short talk about local lore by the restaurant owner. A harp concert followed, and then we did some shopping at the fabulous bookstore located at the foot of the garden. The shop items reflected the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau: Books, Magdalene medals, Templar crosses, Egyptian statues and shiny crystal jewelry.
Rennes-le-Chateau brought up mixed emotions in me. The church itself was so multi-layered in terms of energy and emotions. A LOT has happened there, and for me that day, it was quite jumbled when picking up on energies of the past and present. There is a definite air of mystery around the church and grounds, much more than you can see. I came away quite melacholy because I was on energy overload and processing quite a bit. I would love to go back after reading and learning more about the history and symbolism so I could focus on a specific area of the church or gardens. You could spend years here and not uncover or decipher the town's secrets. The next place we visited was quite the opposite of Rennes-le-Chateau...